Racing Smart is Paying Off for ABR
Mifflin, PA – Aug 16, 2021
by Addicted2Dirt PR & Media Management
Feature Photo Credit: Leister Photography
The summer of 2021 has seen Austin Berry Racing (ABR) shift its goals from trying to achieve consistency and capturing a top-10 finish when they can, to maintaining their consistency and not being happy if they finish outside the top-10.
The team’s initial goals for this season were achieved through a combination of changes to their equipment, learning behind the wheel, and measuring themselves regularly at their home track. There are thousands of variables for a race team, so eliminating any variables they can helps the team determine if the changes being made are working.
They have also been racing smart. Choosing their battles, staying within their budget, and managing their resources better has allowed them to race more this season than any other, not less. For a small team trying to build something, that’s essential.
Since much of their recent success has been achieved at their home track, Port Royal Speedway, the next challenge would be to measure themselves at other speedways. With that in mind, and with “The Speed Palace” taking a weekend off, it was time to do just that.
August 13 – Path Valley Speedway Park
Friday night, Austin Berry made the one hour tow to Path Valley Speedway Park with the Berry’s Siding & Seamless Gutter, Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop, Addicted2DirtPR.com, Nathan Berry Beef Farm, A&C Racing Engines, JDS Racing, Ontime Body & Graphic, Swift Springs, Penske Racing Shocks, Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic, VP Racing Fuels, Rocket Chassis XR1.
ABR was one of 21 teams signed in to compete with the United Late Model Series (ULMS). The high-banked, quarter-mile bullring in Spring Run, PA would provide a very different test than the half-mile tracks Berry usually competes at in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
The night started off well for Berry, who logged the 6th quickest time in the field during qualifying. The qualifying effort provided Berry with the outside front row starting spot in the 3rd and final heat race. The top two finishers from each heat would redraw for one of the top six starting spots in the night’s feature event.
Berry looked good early in the heat race but made one small mistake. A tiny slip over the cushion was just enough to drop him into the 3rd position and out of a redraw spot. As a result, instead of a top-6 spot, Berry was penciled into the 9th position in the starting lineup for the feature event.
Berry was anxious to redeem himself from the heat race mistake and climb his way to the top five, but he never got a chance at redemption. The rains came and brought an end to the racing program during the feature that was being run just prior to the super late model main event. The feature event is scheduled to be made up on Labor Day, Monday, September 6th.
August 14 – Selinsgrove Speedway
Saturday night, ABR made the decision to travel north on Route 35 to race Selinsgrove Speedway’s 23rd Annual Late Model National Open. The team had some rough luck at the Snyder County oval in recent trips there, ending up with a damaged race car on the last three occasions. Berry wasn’t going to shy away because of the past. He felt maybe the big, fast half-mile owed him one.
It certainly appeared as though Austin was right. Berry was the 14th car (of the 23 total entries) to take to the oval for qualifying, and he clicked off the 2nd fastest lap in the field. His lap of 19.919 was a mere 0.022 seconds slower than Dylan Yoder, who claimed the top spot.
Berry backed up the qualifying effort up with a dominating heat race victory, winning by 3.8 seconds from the pole position. The top two finishers from each of three heats participated in a redraw for the top starting spots in the feature event. The Mifflin, PA wheelman pulled the 4-pill, putting himself outside row two for the 30-lap race.
Although he was unable to make any strong moves toward the front, Berry held solid in the top five for most of the event. As the race entered the final ten laps, the handling on Berry’s No.86 Rocket XR1 began to go away, causing him to lose a couple spots and slip to a 7th place finish.
“We probably got a little too aggressive with our setup and we lost some of the maneuverability on corner entry. That cost me a little bit“, Berry shared.
“We feel really good though. We have good speed, and the car responds to our changes. We just need to make the right decisions and we can compete on any given night. I really want to thank my dad, my crew, my family and of course our partners for believing in what we’re doing here and helping us build it. I truly appreciate Locust Hill Custom Butcher Shop, Berry’s Siding and Seamless Gutter, and of course, Jim Stevens & JDS Racing. We couldn’t do this without them“, Berry concluded.
Right now, ABR has something that every team wants: confidence. It’s not misplaced either. It will serve them well for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
ABR will take the upcoming weekend off to prepare for the 3-day Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Port Royal Speedway, which will be held Aug 26-28. Austin and team are eager to take to their home turf against some of the best in the business.
AUSTIN BERRY RACING
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